More than 60 crews have entered the RACMSA Rally of Scotland, the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on November 19-21, with 2009 champion driver Kris Meeke heading the list of runners.
Meeke, who will drive a Peugeot UK 207 Super 2000, is expected to face strong opposition from what amounts to the single biggest gathering of British-based talent in recent years. Heading the competition for Meeke will be British driver Guy Wilks in a Skoda Fabia S2000, new factory Proton pilot Alister McRae and British champion Keith Cronin who will appear at the wheel of an Abarth Grande Punto.
To have 60-plus cars, which is more than our target, is great news and were very pleased, said clerk of the course Iain Campbell, who confirmed upwards of 30 entries had been received from international crews.
Andrew Coe, the events chief executive, added: It is shaping up to be a great finale to the 2009 IRC series. The lochs and hills of Stirling and Perth and Kinross will provide a stunning backdrop for what we hope will be the first visit of many visits for the IRC to Scotland.
World champion joins British Eurosport commentary team for Scotland
Robert Reid, winner of the 2001 World Rally Championship as co-driver to the late Richard Burns, joins the Eurosport commentary team for next weekends RACMSA Rally of Scotland.
Scotsman Reid, is currently the Performance Director of the MSA and deeply involved with encouraging young talent from the grassroots of the sport to international level. He brings his experience and expertise of the sport to a growing IRC TV audience.
Its a little bit daunting in some ways, as a new challenge, but Im looking forward to contributing to Eurosports fabulous rally coverage, said Reid. Of course Im used to talking through the stages from the inside of the car, and Im really looking forward to sharing the excitement of what promises to be a landmark event with so many viewers.
Four stages will be shown live on Eurosport, including the event closing Loch Ard test on Saturday November 21.
RACMSA Rally of Scotland Broadcast Package
Eurosport & Eurosport Asia Pacific
Friday 20th November
09:45-10:40 LIVE Day 1
17:00-18:00 LIVE Day 1
Saturday 21st November
10:00-10:55 LIVE Day 2
14:45-16:00 LIVE Day 2
Sunday 22nd November
23:15-23:45 Review Programme
Wednesday 25th November
19:00-19:30 Review Programme
Thursday 26th November
13:00-13:30 Review Programme
18:30-19:00 Review Programme
(All times are in C.E.T. please check local listings)
Interest surges towards 2010 Rallye Monte Carlo
The revised route, premier TV package and incentives for amateur and top professional teams to compete in the 2010 Rallye Monte Carlo has met with a strong positive reaction from competitiors in readiness for the event on January 18-23.
With a much better chance of snow from being based in the high mountain passes of the Ardeche region, and innovations along the 550km route including a selection stage to be run on the evening of Tuesday 19 January to decide the running order of the rally, there are more opportunities than ever for fans and competitors.
With the opening days action leaving Valence for the Burzet and St Pierreville stages and the cost-cutting lack of service, there are many more variables to open up the competitiveness of the rally. The crews will be permitted a change of tyres between the two loops, but otherwise the cars will remain untouched by the mechanics throughout the leg.
Skoda extends 2010 IRC campaign
Skoda will send its factory team to the Monte Carlo Rally next season ahead of an expanded Intercontinental Rally Challenge assault.
The Czech firm used the asphalt event last January to debut its all-new Fabia Super 2000. It ended the season second in the IRC manufacturers table with works pilot Jan Kopecky securing second in the drivers standings.
Skodas Motorsport boss, Michal Hrabanek, said: This year’s rallying agenda is now over. The priority for the next season is IRC. Just like this year, we are planning to take part in selected events, but this time the number of our appearances is supposed to be higher.
"I can say with certainty that we are going to appear at the Monte Carlo Rally in January, which, thanks to the already announced scope of Eurosport TV coverage, will be a big milestone in the worldwide history of rallying.
Skodas factory team contested six IRC rounds this season.
End-of-season awards in Paris
The end-of-season awards for the winning drivers and manufacturers in the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge and IRC 2WD Cup will take place in Paris on the evening of Monday December 14.